A controversial proposal to cut Georgia's education budget created a stir this week when a state senator proposed merging two historically black universities with nearby mostly white institutions, the New York Times reports.
 
The proposal was introduced this month by Republican Seth Harp, chairman of the state Senate's Higher Education Committee. He proposed merging the historically black Savannah State University with Armstrong Atlantic State University, and the historically black Albany State University with Darton College. Georgia, like many states, is in the midst of a budget crisis, and Harp said the proposal would help close an estimated $2 billion deficit. Harp claims Savannah and Albany only need one institution apiece and that his proposal makes sense economically.
 
The proposed plan has drawn fierce opposition from black educators, politicians and alumni of the schools who argue that these universities could lose their cultural legacies and important status as Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The plan appears unlikely to be adopted by the Georgia Board of Regents, in part because of the vocal opposition from black educators.

Research indicates black students frequently perform better at historically black colleges, which achieve graduation rates similar to mostly white institutions despite the fact that they often admit students with less preparation, reports the Times.